Defoe keen to replace Rooney
Tottenham's Jermain Defoe hopes he is the man to replace Wayne Rooney at Euro 2012 and believes he is in the best shape of his career.
Last Updated: 17/10/11 3:31pm
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe hopes he is the man to replace Wayne Rooney at Euro 2012 and believes he is in the best shape of his career.
The former West Ham and Portsmouth forward scored his fifth goal in nine games in all competitions this season with a trademark strike in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle.
Defoe scored just 12 goals in an out-of-form 2010/11 campaign, which was also hit by injury, and he had been dropped to the bench at Newcastle.
But he feels like a different player and, having been left out of England's squad for the draw with Montenegro that booked a spot at Euro 2012, the 29-year-old wants a recall.
Fabio Capello will be without the suspended Rooney during the group stages of next summer's finals and Defoe told the Evening Standard: "With the sharpness I've got now, I believe I should be playing.
"When you're playing well, I believe you should play. I feel completely different from how I did last season.
Fit and sharp
"I probably came back too soon after injuring my ankle with England last September and sometimes it's difficult after an injury to get that sharpness I'd always had.
"But I now feel as strong as I've felt for a while, probably the strongest I've felt in my whole career.
"My England record is good [15 goals in 46 games] and I was disappointed not to be in the last squad, but it makes you more hungry.
"When I'm fit and sharp, and in the form I'm in now, I can score goals at that level. I've done it before.
"The manager knows what I can do, especially with playing in the last World Cup and gaining that experience.
"I look forward to seeing what happens, but I will do whatever it takes to get on the plane, like I did last time.
"I always say that if you put in the hard work, it pays off. I was looking forward to the game against Newcastle and I was disappointed not to start, but when you put the work in, it's easy on match day."